Remarks at the Welcoming Cocktail for Visiting Delegation from the Islamic Development Bank, Marriott Hotel, October 12, 2016
Honorable Prime Minister and First Vice President, Moses Nagamootoo; Honourable Vice Presidents and Ministers of the Government; Vice President – Cooperation and Country Programming Complex, Islamic Development Bank’ Mr. Sayed Aqa; Other Members of the Delegation of the Islamic Development Bank; Permanent Secretaries and Other Senior Officials; Other Distinguished Guests:
The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and in particular, the Ministry of Finance, is pleased to welcome the Vice President and other members of the Delegation of the Islamic Development Bank, on their inaugural visit to the Land of El Dorado; Land of Many Waters; Land of 6 Peoples, of different backgrounds, sharing a common space and living in harmony. Welcome to Guyana! Over the next two days, we will be engaging you in what we envisage to be constructive and fruitful deliberations, at both the political and technical levels, as we strive to mutually advance the development agenda of our country.
The Ministry of Finance is the principal interlocutor between the CRG and all our multi-lateral development partners, especially with regards to the mobilization of resources for financing our development. We are, therefore excited, to add the Islamic Development Bank to our financial window of opportunities. We believe that there is much to be gained and mutual benefits to be derived from our fledgling, but very important, relationship.
Within the last few months, Guyana acceded to Membership of the Bank, having becoming a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), in 1998, a prerequisite for joining the Bank. I was proud to be my country’s first accredited Governor to the Board of the Bank and being able to attend the Bank’s 41st Annual General Meeting, in Jakarta, Indonesia, in May this year, to witness and participate in the induction ceremony, as Guyana became the 57th member and second South American country, after Suriname, to be admitted to membership of the Bank.
Guyana’s full-fledged membership to the Islamic Development Bank is a clear signal of our endeavors to forge new partnerships with non-traditional development financial institutions. We look forward to the Bank becoming a fundamental partner in supporting Guyana’s development agenda.
Since gaining membership to the Bank, Guyana has acceded to the Articles of Agreement by participating in the capital stock of the Bank. To date, we have made two monetary installments of subscription. The Government expresses its gratitude to the Bank for allowing us to complete the payments of our subscription over twenty (20) years, instead of the traditional five (5) years.
Attaining membership of the Bank has come at a time when Guyana has been graduated to upper middle income status, making access to concessionary resources increasingly difficult. We, therefore, see our opportune membership to the Bank as affording Guyana an alternative source of concessional resources, including grants and interest free loans, which would further propel Guyana’s strategic development trajectory through to 2020 and beyond.
This will greatly assist in the financing of major catalytic projects in Guyana, which will to attain the ‘good life’ and redound to the benefit of all our citizens. We note that the areas of interest of the Bank include human development, rural development and food safety, infrastructural development, trade among member countries and private sector development. These are consistent with the priorities we have set for ourselves and are contained in a document specially prepared for the delegation. Over the next two days, we hope to explore these and other areas with the Bank. We also anticipate learning more of the Bank’s activities, programmes, operating protocols and rules of engagement.
And, jointly, we expect to discuss and review ways and means for a strong and robust economic development cooperation programme, and for identifying country and sectoral development priorities that are mutually re-enforcing for both parties.
Before closing, I would like to thank the staff of the Ministry of Finance and other co-operating entities for the hard work that has gone into making this trip a reality. I trust that our friends will enjoy our well-known hospitality during their brief visit.
With these remarks, I extend the warm embrace of Guyana to our distinguished visiting brothers, and look towards successful outcomes in the days, weeks months and years ahead.